White Oak Woods of the Eden Shale Hills

White oak woods of the Eden Shale Hills. These hills have less natural fertility than the adjacent Inner Bluegrass Plains (with the University’s Arboretum). Before settlement there were distinctive trees and shrubs, especially on drier hill-tops and warmer upper slopes.

Typical soils: somewhat base-rich but relatively infertile on slopes and ridges (hapludalfs).

Typical trees: white oak, black oak, post oak, shingle oak, shagbark hickory, pignut hickory, mockernut hickory, blackgum, sassafras, persimmon and flowering dogwood. On moister soils, especially derived from Garrard Siltstone, there was locally abundant beech, tulip tree and white walnut—but these have disappeared from urban area as natives.

Native shrubs: included maple-leaved viburnum (in shade), Carolina rose and hazel (along edges).

Native grasses and wildflowers: included ipecac, ginseng, woodland phlox and ‘cynthia’ (Krigia biflora); some of these are now rare.

For more details: see Bryant, W.S. 1981. Oak-hickory forests of the Eden shale belt: a preliminary report. Trans. Kentucky Academy of Science.

native white oaks in town (Gainesway area)
Some of last remaining native white oaks in town (Gainesway area).

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